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      RS 9:2800.6     


§2800.6.  Burden of proof in claims against merchants

A.  A merchant owes a duty to persons who use his premises to exercise reasonable care to keep his aisles, passageways, and floors in a reasonably safe condition.  This duty includes a reasonable effort to keep the premises free of any hazardous conditions which reasonably might give rise to damage.

B.  In a negligence claim brought against a merchant by a person lawfully on the merchant's premises for damages as a result of an injury, death, or loss sustained because of a fall due to a condition existing in or on a merchant's premises, the claimant shall have the burden of proving, in addition to all other elements of his cause of action, all of the following:

(1)  The condition presented an unreasonable risk of harm to the claimant and that risk of harm was reasonably foreseeable.

(2)  The merchant either created or had actual or constructive notice of the condition which caused the damage, prior to the occurrence.

(3)  The merchant failed to exercise reasonable care.  In determining reasonable care, the absence of a written or verbal uniform cleanup or safety procedure is insufficient, alone, to prove failure to exercise reasonable care.

C.  Definitions:

(1)  "Constructive notice" means the claimant has proven that  the condition existed for such a period of time that it would have been discovered if the merchant had exercised reasonable care.  The presence of an employee of the merchant in the vicinity in which the condition exists does not, alone, constitute constructive notice, unless it is shown that the employee knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, of the condition.

(2)  "Merchant" means one whose business is to sell goods, foods, wares, or merchandise at a fixed place of business.  For purposes of this Section, a merchant includes an innkeeper with respect to those areas or aspects of the premises which are similar to those of a merchant, including but not limited to shops, restaurants, and lobby areas of or within the hotel, motel, or inn.

D.  Nothing herein shall affect any liability which a merchant may have under Civil Code Arts. 660, 667, 669, 2317, 2322, or 2695.

Acts 1990, No. 1025, §1, eff. Sept.  1, 1990; Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 8, §1, eff. May 1, 1996.

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